Thursday, 19 February 2015

Dark Shadows Bloodlust Episode Twelve written by Alan Flanagan, Will Howells & Joe Lidster and directed by Ursula Burton & David Darlington

What's it about: Some describe it as the town at the edge of the world. When Melody and Michael Devereux come to Collinsport on their honeymoon, they don't know the secrets that are hidden behind closed doors. But those secrets will be unearthed when an innocent is viciously murdered. Collinsport will be a town divided. One woman's rise to power will lead to further death and destruction. Families will be ripped apart. Blood will be spilt. And the dark forces that wait in the shadows will wait no more. For in Collinsport, death is never the end...

Maggie Evans: Angelique throws some light on her character, suggesting that whenever anybody questions her convictions or beliefs that she plays the victim. Maggie turns the tables on Angelique by suggesting that none of this madness occurred in Collinsport until Barnabas and his entourage visited town. Maggie wants to finally rid this world of monsters, even if she is one herself. There's a good chance the Agreed Death spell will kill her too but she is firm in her resolve to cleanse the town. He mother died when she was very young and after she was gone her father threw himself into a painting as a way to replace her. To capture her in a moment. It became an obsession. I am intrigued as to what kind of monster Maggie Evans might turn out to be. A succubus? A Dijnn? Or a monster who'd rather exercised her malicious deeds through others rather than bloody her own hands? No, she's a monster because she is human. A massively profound statement for Angelique to make. In a town full of creatures, the biggest monsters are the human beings.

Standout Performance: Bringing together Lara Parker and Kathryn Leigh-Scott for a lengthy dialogue scene is a dream come true. What fantastic performances and they bounce off each other so well. The characters have such history and it all comes spilling out spectacularly throughout this half hour. I'm surprised that the creators of this series have kept them apart for this long given the wealth of drama that exists between the but it sure gives the penultimate episode a huge eruption of emotion that was needed to throw us into the finale.

Sparkling Dialogue: 'I don't pretend to look confused every time a man falls into my lap.'

Great Ideas: Everything and everyone is converging on Collinwood, the beating heart of this town and where most of its problems come from. In 1797, Petofi arrived at Alexandra's villa late one night with a business proposition. He was paranoid, believing gypsies were trying to track him down and is raving about 'the age of Petofi.' All the diaries hint at is that Petofi's plans are over 200 years in the making. Agreed death - a spell that is designed to kill supernatural creatures and yet can only be cast by a supernatural creature. Few people know how the spell works. Petofi was a trickster but most of his power was concentrated in the hand...which is the only part of him that we know has survived. The reason that Barnabas doesn't want Angelique is the same reason that nobody wants her; because she is poisonous and manipulative. Before Barnabas all Angelique wanted to do was to make perfume, a simple dream that has remained unfulfilled. Petofi's desire for nothing isn't what it sounds is a literal interpretation of his desires. It's not that he wanted for nothing...he wanted nothing.

Standout Scene: Just as Bloodlust has been building to a spectacular climax, episode 12 is a self contained piece of drama that builds to its own apex. Two wronged women coming together to put their differences apart and cast a spell that could put an end to all of their troubles. Who was telling lies? The emotional sting comes when Maggie forgives Angelique despite everything...and she even surprises herself in offering such a gift. It reminded me of the Doctor granting his forgiveness to the Master at the end of The Last of the Time Lords but it affected me even moreso. Something about the intimacy of audio, of having these characters in right in your ears. The performances at this point took my breath away and I had goosebumps.

Result: 'I forgive you!' And I thought the real time crowd episode was something different. This is wonderful stuff, the best episode by far and a gripping two hander between Maggie Evans and Angelique Bouchard. It is no co-incidence that these two are my favourite characters and it thrills me to see so much time being given over to them and their back story. The performances are extraordinary, both Kathryn Leigh-Scott and Lara Palmer take hold of this powerful material and sink their teeth into it. It doesn't matter that a handful of plot threads are effectively stalled for a whole episode because the drama that plays out between these two women had me rooted to the spot in astonishment for 40 minutes. It reminds me of that old adage that all you need is two great actors and one great script and you can capture your audience completely. This one of the most economic pieces of drama that Big Finish has ever put out and it blows all those action soundtracks of the Doctor Who main range to dust. Eleven episodes of the Bloodlust serial power this piece of drama and it is all the more satisfying and substantial for it. The ultimate bitch fight without a shred of violence. How will the finale top this? It sure has an awful lot to live up to: 10/10

No comments: